Indecency With a Child
Any crimes involving children trigger very strong reactions because the alleged victims are often completely powerless to protect themselves. When the alleged offense involving a child is a sex crime such as indecency, prosecutors will look to impose the maximum punishment.
A person who has been accused of any sort of sex crime with a child can often feel as though he or she has been found guilty even before stepping foot inside a courtroom. When a person is facing indecency charges involving a child, whether by contact or by exposure, a conviction can result in lengthy imprisonment, heavy fines, and required sex offender registration.
Austin Indecency With a Child Lawyer
If you are being investigated or have been arrested for indecency involving a child, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Kevin Bennett understands the tremendous shame that these charges bring for alleged offenders, and he works tirelessly to restore the good names of people who are falsely accused in these cases.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett aggressively defends clients in Austin as well as such nearby communities as West Lake Hills, Sunset Valley, Pflugerville, Lakeway, Lago Vista, and Bee Cave. Call (512) 476-4626 today to set up a free, confidential consultation that will let our firm review your case and begin developing the strongest possible defense.
Travis County Indecency With a Child Information Center
- How is this offense defined under Texas law?
- What possible punishments does a person face if he or she is convicted?
- Which defenses can a person use when charged with this crime?
Texas Penal Code § 21.11 establishes two types of indecency involving children. Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(1) is considered indecency by contact, and Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(2) is indecency by exposure.
- Indecency by Contact — A person may be charged with a second-degree felony if he or she engages in sexual contact with a child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact and that child is younger than 17 years of age. Texas Penal Code § 21.11(c) defines sexual contact for this offense as any touching any touching by an alleged offender, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child, or any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of an alleged offender. This offense is commonly referred to simply as child molestation.
- Indecency by Exposure — It is a third-degree felony for a person with intent to arouse or gratify his or her sexual desire to expose his or her anus or any part of his or her genitals, knowing the child is present, or cause a child to expose that child's anus or any part of that child's genitals.
A conviction for either indecency offense can result in very significant consequences for an alleged offender. Depending on the specific crime for which a person has been accused, some of the possible punishments can include:
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
In addition to imprisonment and fines, a person convicted of an indecency offense involving a child will also be required to register as a sex offender. Individuals convicted of indecency by exposure will be required to register for 10 years, but a person convicted of indecency by contact will be required to register for life. Sex offender registration can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to obtain employment or housing.
A person who is accused of this type of sex crime may be able to utilize one of two types of defenses. An affirmative defense may be used by an alleged offender who admits to committing the alleged offense, but is able to legally justify or excuse the actions. An alleged offender who does not admit to committing the alleged offense can also raise defenses that attempt to disprove the plaintiff’s claims or prosecutor’s case.
Some of the affirmative defenses listed under Texas Penal Code § 21.11 include:
- The alleged offender was not more than three years older than the victim and of the opposite sex
- The alleged offender did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim at the time of the offense
- At the time of the alleged offense, the alleged offender was either not required to register for life as a sex offender or did not have a reportable conviction or adjudication for an indecency offense with a child
- The alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense
Defenses which may be raised to challenge the cases being made by prosecutors can include, but are not limited to:
- False Allegations — It is extremely common for these types of charges to arise in very contentious divorce or child custody disputes, and one parent may falsely accuse the other of child molestation
- No Criminal Intent — An alleged offender may have accidentally touched the genital area of a child, and this defense can make the prosecution meet the very difficult burden of proving that the alleged offender has the specific intent to intent to arouse or gratify his or her own sexual desire
- Mistaken Identity — A victim could possible misidentify the person who is actually committed the illegal contact or exposure
- Insufficient Evidence — An alleged offender may be able to get charges dismissed if the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
- Improper Interviewing — Certain lines of questioning of alleged victims may involve invitations for speculation, forms of reinforcement, suggestive or ambiguous inquiries, or any number of other inherent biases in the questions that skew its legitimacy
Find the Best Indecency With a Child Lawyer in Austin
Are you being investigated for or have you been arrested with indecency involving a child in Texas? Kevin Bennett is committed to achieving the most favorable outcome for every person he represents, and he will thoroughly investigate your case to fight the charges against you.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett helps clients all over Austin, including such areas as North Campus, Barton Creek, South Austin, and Andersen Mill. Our firm can provide a complete and thorough review of your case as soon as you call (512) 476-4626 to take advantage of a free consultation.